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									LearningReflection 2006


Our Vision ActioonAid’s vision is a world without poverty in which every person can exercise their right to a life of dignity. Our Mission The mission of ActionAid Cambodia is to work with poor and excluded people to eradicate poverty and injustice in Cambodia. Our Values • • • • • • • • • • Mutual respect Equity and justice Honesty and transparency Solidarity Courage and conviction Humility Efficiency Excellence Proximity Independence


Table of Contents Acronyms Message from Country Director 1. Introduction Who we are Our coverage Social and Political Context 2.1 Cambodian Context 2.2 Internal Context and other Issues 2.3 Our Position Participatory Review and Reflection Process 3.1 Process of developing Annual Plan and Budget 2007 3.2 Other processes to involve communities, partners and external stakeholders 3.3 Quality Programme Research Project Building the Base for the Future Strategies engagement 4.1 Organisational Climate assessment 4.2 Important social process 4.3 Process of staff capacity Achievements and Learning Achievements Strategic Objective I. Addressing Immediate poverty needs of the most poor and marginalised people II. Building organisation and alliance of the poor and marginalised people III. Enforcing the Rights of Women and Girls IV. Strengthening pro-poor governance V. Strengthening pro-poor policies Stories of change

1 1–2


2–3 3 3


4–5 5–6 6


6–9 9 9 – 11


11 11 11 – 13 13 – 16 16 – 18 18 – 19 19 – 21 22 – 24


Key achievements, learning and challenges emerging from present engagement
6.1 Organisational capacity assessment 6.2 Partnership analysis 6.3 Positive factors in partnerships that can contribute to AAI-Cambodia’s country strategy

24 – 26
26 – 27 27 – 28 28 – 29


Risks/Challenges and Mitigation Women Self Help Health Initiative programme Departmental update and Inter Department Linkages Income

29 – 31


31 – 32


Resource Mobilisation—Sponsorship programme
9. 10. 10. Human Resource and Organisation Development Prouds and Sorries Future Directions

32 – 35
35 – 36 36 – 38 38 – 39


Acronym ALPS ARV CFI CSP DA DI FTA GCE HRBA RBA IP LDC MDG MLP MRD NGO OVC PLHA PMLP PO UNGASS UN VDC VFI WTO Partners AARR ADIFE AFEC CCJ COFAP CWDCC HA HOC HOM HRND IYDP KAFDOC NOPAHAA NTFP RFCD SAMAKY UPWD WAC WMC Alliance Association for Rural Restoration Association for the Development of Family Economics Avenir des Femmes et des Enfants du Cambodge Club of Cambodian Journalists Cooperation for Alleviation of Poverty Children and Women Development Centre in Cambodia Highlanders Association Hope of Children Old Age and Miserable People Help Organisation Human Resources and Natural Development Indigenous Youth Development Project Khmer Association for Development of Countryside North-Eastern Orphans and People Affected by HIV/AIDS Non-Timber Forest Products Rural Friends Community for Development (“Solidarity”) Urban Poor Women Development Womyn’s Agenda for Change Women’s Media Center of Cambodia Accountability, Learning and Planning System Anti-retroviral Community Finance Institution Country Strategy Plan Development Area Development Initiative Free Trade Agreement Global Campaign for Education Human Rights-Based Approach Rights-Based approach Indigenous people Least Developed Countries Millennium Development Goals Micro-level planning Ministry of Rural Development Non-governmental organization Orphaned vulnerable children People living with HIV/AIDS Participatory micro-level planning Programme Officer United Nations General Assembly Special Session United Nations Village Development Committee Village Focus International World Trade Organisation


Message from the Country Director:

ActionAid Cambodia is a relatively new country programme. We established our country office in July 2004 and since then have focused all our efforts and energies into expanding the breadth and depth of our programmes.

Our team has grown from twenty-three in 2005 to thirty-one, and our long-term partners have grown to fifteen as of December 2006. We have four departments:
Programme, Human Resource and Organisational Development, Finance/Administration and Resource Mobilisation, all of which have grown rapidly and have provided wellcoordinated support as well as learning among departments. Our engagements at micro and macro levels have been broad and deep, linking community processes with national initiatives. As a small and new country programme, we are proud of our efforts spent over the last years—and we have had a lot to continue our engagement to assist the poor and excluded groups in the communities where we are present. It has been a busy, but rewarding year. Most of all our greatest inspiration for learning and moving forward comes primarily from the poor and excluded communities we are working with. In the meantime, working with our partners, NGOs, media, civil society, international organizations and the government, ActionAid Cambodia has gotten ample opportunities to engage in, learn and contribute to the change process. In the process, we are deepening the understanding and analysis of our partners, the community people and our team for quality engagement.

Keshav Gautam




Who We Are When ActionAid Cambodia programme began in 1999 its focus was to identify people's groups from various provinces in the country, strengthen their capacity and link them with networks and movements within Cambodia and the South East Asia region. The ActionAid Cambodia country office opened in July 2004 and, since then, we have evolved strategic long-term partnership with different people's groups and NGOs across the country. In 2006 we continued to expand in terms of taking new partners in new geographical areas as well as focus on building perspective and sharpening approach in response to our global strategy. In terms of long-term partnership, today, we work with twenty-three (23) local agencies in 14 provinces and city: Urban Poor Women Development (UPWD), Khmer Association for Development of Countryside (KAFDOC), Avenir des Femmes et des Enfants du Cambodge (AFEC), Human Resources and Natural Development (HRND), Alliance Association for Rural Restoration (AARR), , Rural Friends Community for Development (RFCD), Children and Women Development Centre in Cambodia (CWDCC), SAMAKY (“Solidarity”), Association for the Development of Family Economics (ADIFE), Cooperation for Alleviation of Poverty (COFAP), Old Age and Miserable People Help Organisation (HOM) and North-Eastern Orphans and People Affected by HIV/AIDS (NOPAHAA), Human Resource Development for Sustainable Community Organisation (HRDSCO), Banteay Srei, Mlup Prumvihearthor Center (MPC), Cambodian Human Rights Development (CHRD), Highlanders Association (HA), Non Timber Forest Product Project (NTFP), Village Focus International (VFI), (Women Network Unity (WNU) and Children and women Development Center in Cambodia (CWCC), Positive Women Health Organization (PWHO), NGO Forum, Star Kampuchea. In the meantime, we also have been working with the media, civil society organisations, people’s alliances, and individuals. Our Coverage In 2006, we continued to locate ourselves effectively in the Northeast provinces of Ratanakiri and Kratie working with indigenous groups and communities living in the Mekong basin. In the Northwest provinces of Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, and Pursat, we have expanded our endeavours to assert the rights of migratory communities and trafficked women, traditional fisher communities around Tonle Sap Lake, communities living with HIV/AIDS and positive children and children without adult protection. In the southern province of Kampot we have expanded our work by engaging with the marine fishing communities. In the north, we have located ourselves to engage with the marginalised communities in the ex-Khmer Rouge area. In Phnom Penh, we are working with the women living in the slums and squatter settlements focusing on land tenure and livelihood rights. In 2006, in addition to our on going engagements, we expanded to provinces in the south hit by drought and flood and to the southwest provinces to work with the marine fishing communities. In this way we have been able to work with the crossection of the poor and marginalised Cambodian population.



Social and Political Context

2.1 Cambodian Context: Cambodia is undergoing rapid change in the way of relationship between its people and the State. The integration of Cambodia to the global processes is structured, and such changes are impacting the Cambodian people, particularly the poor and marginalized in changing and new conflicting political, economic and social relationships. The governance structure in Cambodia is still marred by ambiguity and uncertainty and lack of representation of the poor and marginalized. The challenges are legion as our engagement in Cambodia to realize the RTEP presupposes establishment of just and democratic governance at every level. The global changes driven by USA and its economic, political, and military interests are dominant. The IFIs and the global corporate led neo-liberal policies and privatization agenda have widened the class disparities. The entry of China as a bilateral funding


through soft loan may change the whole bilateral politics. The donor emphasis on utilizing external technical consultants as part of technical assistance has hampered the growth of national institutional capacity in policy making, as was evident form Action Aid International’s recent Real Aid report. The growing entrenchment of commercial farming and attendant transfer of resources into the hands of big commercial enterprises pose serious challenge to the livelihood of the poor. The positive signs are that due to increasing conflict, the government has recognized the depravity, but however, in the absence of organized effort to safeguard the rights of the poor, the powerful interests still control most resources, including the opportunities that arise from international trade and commerce. The patriarchal power relationship is all-encompassing even though women play prominent role in household and national economy. Challenging gender relations are taboo. So the scope of our engagement emerges from these opportunities and boundaries. We presume that the government and its policies remain supportive to INGO and NGO work in the country as we aim to nurture our programme and development approaches through a platform of critical engagement and dialogue between government, NGOs, civil society and communities. It is of a particular concern in relation to the Commune Council elections due to take place in 2007 and it is imagined that the Government may move towards imposition of new laws that are not conducive to the operation of NGOs/INGOs, and these may hinder our process. 2.2 Internal Context – other Issues The year 2006 was the second year of our programmatic engagement in Cambodia. As is expected with an organisation establishing itself in a new country, the first year or even two years are a period of settling in, getting to know the people, the environment and other development actors in the country. Staff has to be hired and partnerships formed. Although most staff have had experience with other organisations, additional capacity building was necessary to embed the values of Action Aid into their thoughts and actions. Nevertheless, Action Aid in Cambodia has the benefit of the experience of over 30 years of Action Aid International in other countries and staff from these countries have been active in supporting the establishment of the Cambodia program. Currently our work encompasses grassroots engagements and some policy and advocacy work with some national institutions. Our work with poor and marginalized in Cambodia has expanded in terms of its geographical coverage, the number of communities and groups we work with, and issues we have been involved in. In the whole year of 2006, we primarily centred our focus in building staff perspective and capacity, deepening engagement with partners and communities through social processes and people centred approaches, mobilizing and supporting poor people’s organisations around their basic rights and exploring our alliances and scope of collective action and critical engagements. Moreover, 2006 is the year for us to define our position and tactics, while grounding key social processes and protecting the basic rights of the poor and excluded groups. 2.3 Our Position We are still grappling to enhance our understanding on the isues of denial of rights, and on the economic and political milieu of Cambodia.


The learning of the past years has helped us in positioning ourselves strategically with community based partners to reach out to the most inaccessible geographic areas. Our other effort is to carve out inroads into government machnary and strenghten alliance with judiciary, media, civil citizen groups, and trade unions through an ideological and issue based network. This places us in quite a unique position in Cambodia as an organisation that is just begining its work. We are almost complete with our first Country Strategy Paper. As a second generation CP, we fetch our core competency from our experience elsewhere, and the space and resources available to demonstrate, and partner effectively. 3. Participatory Review and Reflection Processes

In the spirit of increasing accountability to the poor, our partners and other key stakeholders, which is required in our Accountability, Learning and Planning System, ActionAid Cambodia’s different functions carry out a set of participatory review and reflection processes (on an annual basis) and this year it was a three-month (NovDecember-) continuous process in which all aspects of partnership, staff capacity building and plan for improvement within ActionAid, partners and community people had been carefully discussed and formulated to form the basis for 2007 country annual plan. In this essence, the review helps us to work with stakeholders to assess what we have done, what has been learned and especially within this analysis, articulate what will be done differently in the future. The process was carried out in a transparent and participatory manner, involving poor and excluded communities, partners and other stakeholders by providing space for them to express their ideas, priorities and concerns. Involving them in the processes did require our very sensitive facilitation so that all feel comfortable to contribute. The lessons and findings of the review and reflection processes and agreed actions arising from were noted and feed into the annual plan as well as learning and reflection report. The participatory review and reflection processes included the process for planning annual plan and budget for 2007, Country Strategy Paper (CSP) process, external programme review, research on political and economic context of Cambodia, organisational climate survey, international reflection among all staff and other processes that involved community people, partners and external stakeholders. 3.1 Process of developing Annual Plan and Budget 2007 The planning processes of ActionAid Cambodia for Plan and Budget 2007 is a very intense process that included a number of participatory and shared learning processes by involving the whole team, partners, our core constituencies, other important development actors in the country and our alliances. We are also in the process of developing our Country Strategy Paper (CSP), which we imagine to emerge from the need and aspiration of our core constituencies in alignment with our current experience. The CSP process helped tremendously in looking at the plan of 2007 in a long term and strategic format. The CSP process involved significant processes to reflect upon our present organizational positioning, organizational preparedness, commitment, passion and capacity to deliver effectively to realize our collective vision of Rights to end poverty (RTEP). A group of external development and


human rights activists and human resource experts supported us to help us in probing into these areas together through different enriching and rewarding processes. The External Programme Review helped us to explore into our present nature and extent of engagement with the State and various non-state actors and stakeholders and provided us with adequate impetus to penetrate into new and unexplored areas to deepen our engagement with more meaning and rigor to accomplish our collective vision. The internal Organisational Climate Survey process through a three-day focus group discussion workshop helped us to reflect upon our own values, commitments, passion, preparedness and capacity to work collectively towards achieving the ambitious goal that we have set out for ourselves. In the workshop various assessment process and tools were employed and followed up by reflection questions whose outputs were discussed in plenary with particular emphasis on strategic concerns and recommendations. All these processes are equally important and to be seen concurrently in one wholesome strategic framework–and particularly for the plan of 2007. We acknowledge that the challenges ahead are big and multifaceted. In addition to such processes, a very intense Internal Reflection and Planning process was undertaken for about 10 days spread over a month to reflect upon our current engagement, achievements, learning and challenges, organisational capacity assessments; and analysis of the capacity and depth of engagement of our partners with the core constituencies. The shared learning process was undertaken by involving all staff including programme & policy, thematic focal persons, finance & administration, resource mobilisation to reflect critically upon our present organisational positioning in relation to different external actors, our major achievements, key learning and challenges, the extent our engagement with our core constituencies, the ability and extent of our alliance building effort and critical engagement at community, commune council, district, province and national levels. 3.2 Other processes to involve communities, partners and external stakeholders The most crucial process was the one we had created to involve our partners, right holders and other players in the DA and non-DA planning that formed the basis for the Country Programme (CP) plan. This process took about two months directly with the communities, partners and the local government representatives. In two projects, where the micro level planning (MLP) process had been started since 2005 and was then complete, the community brought out their plan, fully endorsed by the local political executives and government authorities in a three-year perspective. The plan for 2007 emerged from this three year strategic perspective. The endorsement of these plans by the executives shows their ownership, and commitment to cooperating with the communities in pursuing their rights. As an integral part of the MLP, the communities were organised to analyse their issues, made resource mapping and chalked out preferred plan of action to advance their rights through collective action. In six DAs, where the MLP exercise had reached the first stage and the communities had reached only at the village level analysis stage, such analysis was used to engage the communities, village heads and the commune council heads to use the analysis to chalk out the plan for 2007. Such plans look at immediate pressing issues facing the


communities, particularly the most poor and the plan revolved around creating processes for deepening critical understanding of the community and their mobilisation, while directly addressing some of the pressing needs. These plans were also endorsed by the local authorities. The other projects, which had not yet reached the MLP stage, the planning involved series of consultative processes between the key community facilitators, community representatives, partners, selected village heads and commune council heads. These plans were shared with the larger communities by the community facilitators to ensure that the plans aligned with the needs and aspiration of the communities. Subsequent to these shared planning processes, a two-day Internal Review was conducted in September involving the programme team, and other department heads like the finance, resource mobilisation, Impact Assessment and Shared Learning (IASL) and communications. All the plans emerged from the ground were discussed in great details, comments of review team members incorporated and final plans developed. Simultaneously, the Senior Management Team (SMT) held a series of meetings between August and September to coordinate all the processes initiated for 2007 planning and consolidated the CP plan. 3.3 Quality Programme Research Project The year 2006 has been declared as the year of Quality by ActionAid International. This implies that at every level of our work we need to understand the aspects of quality and need to improve the quality of our work. One of the processes in making the efforts happen was the initiation of a project titled “Unpacking Programme Quality in Asia”. A group of regional facilitation team was set up to facilitate the conduction of this research within the ActionAid country programmes in Asia. The primary objective of this research project was to understand the different conceptions on "Quality" among the ActionAid network which included ActionAid staff members, its partner organisations and communities. This enabled a process of exchange and shared learning regarding what makes up "quality" in our programmes and interventions. The project was carried out among ACTIONAID INTERNATIONAL Cambodia programme staff, community facilitators and community people of partners from Urban Poor Women Development (old DA), Khmer Association for Development of Countryside (old DA), Coalition for Alleviation of Poverty (new DA) and Highlanders Association (long-term Non-DA).


Building the Base for Future Strategic Engagement

4.1 Organisational Climate Assessment Overall, the purpose of assessment was to take stock of the institutional climate and consider strategies in response to the issues identified. The followings are the strengths and weaknesses from the assessment. Strengths • Able to create good team environment: ActionAid Cambodia have good teamwork as manifested in the working relationships and how staff engage with each other. Teamwork is reinforced by open communication and understanding of the work that needs to be done by members of the team.



Hard working and deeply committed staff: Staff of ActionAid Cambodia are all hard-working and deeply committed to the goals and mission of the organisation. There is a strong sense of satisfaction in terms of what staff are contributing to the betterment of their country especially the impact they have with their partners. There are challenges but they feel that what they are doing are contributing to the achievements of the goals of the organisation. Building confidence, independence, and teamwork: the environment within the organisation promotes building confidence, independence and team work. The culture and relationships within the organisation helps individual staff become more self-assured with what he or she does. Providing opportunities to participate in debates, discussions and decisionmaking: The staff are encouraged to participate in discussions and debates within the organisation to come up with decisions or in solving problems together. Though there is a structure and clear line management, the organisation is not hierarchical in its treatment of the staff. The management team is accessible to who they can easily come to when there are issues or questions that needed to be addressed. Democratic leadership style and conducive working environment: The mostly expressed way of motivating the staff are those that pertain to leadership style and the working environment within the organisation. Staff felt that they are being treated with respect, given the opportunities to excel in their work, encouraged to participate in most decision making processes as well as the referring to the leadership style as not being autocratic.





Weaknesses: Low engagement among team members: There are times when staff members would like to get feedback from others but these feedback does not come easily. Hard to meet all members at one time: The schedule of each staff member makes it quite difficult to have everyone at the office at the same time to be able to discuss concerns when needed. It is not easy to call for a meeting because the schedules are not synchronised in a manner where staff can have time to meet when needed. Lack of confidence from partner or team member: The lack of confidence from a partner or team member in terms of ability to perform a job is sometimes reflected in how much of the work is being allocated or done. There is a tendency for some staff to do the work themselves because they feel that the partner or a concerned staff member would not be able to perform the task or work at the level of quality expected. Work overload: The work overload among some of the staff members results to lack of cooperation or seemingly lack of support. Due to the “busyness” of staff, they tend to not give priority to providing support or coordination with other staff.




The assessment focused on the: Clarity of staff understanding of the organisational values and consistency in practicing these values ActionAid Cambodia staff and management are well aware of the values of the organisation and the importance and relevance of the set of beliefs in the healthy functioning of their programmes and realization of achievement of their goals. However,


there seems to be a lack of a common understanding of the values and how the values should be practices. There are instances where one department would take more ownership of particular value since it is very obvious for them how this could be practiced, whereas certain values the practise of which may not necessarily be seen directly in a particular department’s work; therefore the staff may identify less with them. ActionAid Cambodia, therefore, needs to hold periodic sessions on the value statements of the organisation based on experience/practise, which will help continually assess the consistency of practise of the values and define areas of nuances. Strengths and weaknesses of ActionAid Cambodia team functioning ActionAid Cambodia staff are able to create good team environment, hard-working and deeply committed and have good coordination. But, they lack sharing of information and confidence from partner or team member as well as lack of cooperation as a result of work overload. There is low engagement among team members and it is hard to meet all members at one time. ActionAid Cambodia would benefit from regular team development activities particularly those that would help staff understand each other better. Also, it would be useful for the staff to have a session on understanding team development to serve as a theoretical framework in dealing with their issues as a team. The managers would need to play a bigger role in ensuring that the team understand how it is to be a team. Conduciveness of working environment for staff The management needs to conduct a workload assessment whether the issue is position based, sector based or because some staff are new in our jobs and less efficient still growing into their roles. ActionAid Cambodia can be proactive in communicating with the regional office regarding their plans for the region that has implications with the work plans of the country office. There is a need to review the planning process to make room for activities that may be unexpected or unplanned. Staff may need to learn how to manage the work strategically so that the more strategic ones are addressed and do not feel the burden that they have to do everything. Enabling factors for learning and growth of the staff Staff are quite pleased with various opportunities given to them for learning and growth, such as local and international trainings and travels, all of which inculcate confidence in them to manage and implement their programmes. The organisation is not bureaucratic and helpful in the needs of the field staff; the support staff do their best to provide for the needs of the programme staff. Still, there is concern among non-programme staff (support staff) who felt they are not provided with the same level of opportunity for training activities. There are also feelings that they miss the opportunities for higher education due to workload and the requirement of fieldwork. ActionAid Cambodia, therefore, needs to define its staff development programme that covers all of the staff while it would be helpful to look at non-training or workshop types of capacity development, such as coaching, movies, performing arts reflection process and other creative forms of staff development. Institutionalising regular sharing of experiences, such as individual experiences that contribute to organisational learning can be also helpful in this sense. Degree of staff motivation and appropriateness of management styles within the organisation


Individual values, belief systems and dreams including love and care for others, belief in justice and human rights that match with those of ActionAid Cambodia are the drive of most staff to work for the organisation. Others felt a strong sense of civil responsibility and commitment to serve their country and contribute to its development. Democratic leadership and conducive working climate, opportunities to learn, belief in approach and values of ActionAid Cambodia motivate the staff in pursuing their dreams/goals of the organisation. One of the de-motivating factors is the government’s disregard of human rights. Staff need to understand that this is a given reality and reason why organisation like ActionAid Cambodia was established. Successful and helpful management style within ActionAid Cambodia There are not major concerns over management style prevailing in ActionAid Cambodia. The management promotes an atmosphere conducive to learning and participation where no one is fearful to speak one’s mind. It seems that ActionAid Cambodia was able to accomplish many things and are contributing to the achievement of the organisational goal. The managers were not defensive when issues were raised and had a healthy attitude towards comments which they thought were fair. This indicated a mature sense of managing people, which could be fostered more as this is counter cultural in Cambodia where traditions view leaders as always being right and criticisms even though constructive are viewed as maligning the leadership. Good reflection processes would help managers have concrete examples of counter cultural practices and find ways to deal with possible conflicts. ActionAid Cambodia could do with incorporating reflection processes and highlighting good management practises and decisions. Their senior managers can point out during meetings or discussions when they feel that they have come up with a good decision or a process they followed is good management practise. The 10-day Internal Reflection and Planning Process provided with very important learning to strategise our engagement and plan for coming years. An illustration of the outcomes of such exercise is presented below.

4.2 Important social processes
There are three social process envisaged important to integrate all interventions for comprehensive outputs. As we visualise results in thematic areas, it is necessary to bind the programme through an all embracing process embedded in all thematic interventions to avoid perception of isolationistic interventions. These three processes will provide the crucial platform for all the disadvantaged and excluded groups to unit together to assume collective action in pursuance of each group’s rights. The first process is Women’s Self Help Health Initiative. We intended to create a cadre of women’s leaders at every level primarily emerging from the marginalised communities to assume key role in the process of advancing women’s position. This process which is already underway will take the women from the marginalised communities through a process of analysis, and collective action beginning from an analysis of their own body and seeking local knowledge and remedies to help each other to resolve their health problems. This initiative will go through a process to gradually mobilising and organising women to demand effective public health services and then assuming collective role to advance their position to protect their rights on other issues and increasing their participation and representation in communal issues.


The second important process is the Community Organising (CO) process that builds into the programme to enable the communities to analyse their issues of denial of rights and being organised to take collective actions to protect and demand rights. The main focus of this process is to build the critical thinking, capacities and skills of our right holders to mobilise and organise to claim their rights. The third process is the Micro Level Planning (MLP) process, which is a continuous and reinforcement of the first two processes by effectively using the critical thinking of the poor and marginalised communities to engage in a collective planning and action process to dialogue, negotiate and lobby for their rights from the duty holders. So far, 8 DAs started this micro planning and two DAs completed all the four stages of the planning. However, the process was delayed after we had learned that the people had not been ready and lack critical analysis, resulting in their plan less analytical and superficial. We will continue this grassroots plan after the people become critical enough and their analysis skill is inculcated in the community organising process.

4.3 Processes of Staff Capacities
With a gap in human resources inflicted by decades of unrest in the country has led us to primarily focus on building perspective and analytical capacity of our team particularly in the programme team. The Leadership Development Programme in Cambodia gave us an opportunity to send a number of our female colleagues to attend it. We also used that opportunity for other staff to participate in areas relevant to their work during the LDP course. We have invested quite a lot in building the capacity of our staff workin on HIV/AIDS. We have used all opportunities inside the organisation and outside to strengthen confidence along with perspective. Mentoring of our staff and partners around areas of organising and mobilising was yet another support provided through out. This initiative was to focus the learning process by actually being in the field, observing and doing it directly. We have achieved a level of growing confidence in some staff and partner organisations. We continued to focus on our staff to further analyze and understand patriarchy. This time we embarked through a process of initiating a self-help health initiative in our communities by training front line female colleagues in the communities. All our female colleagues were involved in all the phases of the self-help initiative. We have also carried out a number of work with regional coordinators on strengthening regional work on governance. Events of these natures have allowed our local staff to participate and deepen their understanding. We have a very good collaborative effort with IPD and have received support in strengthening our local capacity. Policy Research We seconded a staff from the UK policy unit to be based in ActionAid Cambodia for a period of 6 months. We used this opportunity to organise workshops and training for our own staff and our alliance and partners around areas of policy advocacy.


A lot of work went to engage the civil society and the donor communities in the framework of social accountability. Women’s Self Help Health Initiative: Women’s health issues are critical in Cambodia and offers a niche to mobilize the agency of women beginning with an understanding of their own bodies, women diseases and local remedies; and gradually linking their health problems to effective public health provisioning at every level; and eventually with their emerging leadership to challenge patriarchy and claim their social, political and economic rights. Women’s health in women’s hand and “my body is mine” are the key premises to nurture the critical agency of the marginalized women to understand their own bodies, their rights and entitlements and assume key roles to assert their position and rights at home and society. In view of the above, ActionAid Cambodia felt the need to conduct series training of trainer (ToT) courses for the key staff of our partners, and selected women facilitators from our partner communities as well as the frontline staff of ActionAid Cambodia on health and women rights in Cambodia with a view to enable them to learn, reflect and practice different methods to engage with the larger communities in the analysis of the patriarchal root of denial of rights of women and to mobilise their collective action to assert their social and political position and rights. Self-help approach as we view it is a merging of both socialist and feminist principles. We begin with a sharing of our experiences of struggle, conflict, strength and empowerment believing that personal is political. This sharing of our experiences gives us the trust and respect for diversity in the group. Each one of us has our own personal and cultural identities with all its richness. We believe that women’s health is closely linked to our increasing subordination within the unsustainable and unjust economic and political growth of capitalism. Therefore, we can’t talk of women’s health without understanding women’s subordinate and unequal status both in family and society questioning the materials conditions of livelihood. Self-help encourages and provides spaces for exploring one’s body and establishing a friendly relationship with it. The women’s perceptions of the body, is holistic, logical, interdependent and linked to everybody experiences. Self-help also believes in building skills which give women independence and autonomy and a control over her earnings. It begins with building her own self esteem and confidence making her assertive and strengthened. Simple awareness of one’s body – its structure and functions helps women to understand themselves.


Achievements and Learning

As an organisation, we focus on five strategic priorities in line with the Global Strategy Paper, which are as follows: 1) Women’s Rights, 2) Right to Food, 3) Right to Life of Dignity in the face of HIV/AIDS, 4) Right to Just and Democratic Governance, and 5) Right to Education. In addition, we have five strategic objectives that focus our work to fulfill ActionAid International’s strategic goals of 1) Poor and excluded people and communities will


exercise power to secure their rights; 2) Women and girls will gain power to secure their rights; 3) Citizens and civil society across the world will fight for rights and justice; and 4) States and their institutions will be accountable and democratic and will promote, protect and fulfill human rights for all. Five strategic objectives are: 1. Addressing immediate poverty needs of the most poor and marginalised people 2. Building organisation and alliance of the poor and marginalised people 3. Enforcing rights of women and girls 4. Strengthening pro-poor governance, and 5. Strengthening pro-poor policies Our achievements and learning from our review and reflections are put within the framework of these strategic objectives and priorities.

I. Addressing immediate poverty needs of the most poor and marginalised people
One of the main issues that came up in all our debates as a team, our discussions with external stakeholders and our partners was a need to address issues around immediate basic needs of the communities we work with. While interacting and working with the communities, we have realised that addressing the immediate needs of poor and marginalised people is an important process towards creating a political space for the communities to raise their voices for the rights and justice. The significant achievement of this year was that “addressing the immediate needs within the rights frame” has been internalised by the team and the partners. And some basic work, within the thematic areas, has been started and we hope to deepen this in the coming years.

Right to Food
Food safety networks: Livelihood has been one of the serious issues in many communities. This year we have initiated debate around food safety mechanisms for the bottom 20% of families who suffer hunger and food vulnerability. This group has started developing plans of how such food safety mechanisms can be owned and managed by the bottom 20% of families. The participation of all community members in the process is one of the strongest aspects of these initiatives. Gradually, these isolated mechanisms would develop to become support networks from one community to another. Revolving funds: We set up revolving funds as a means to address the immediate needs of the poorest families in urban slum communities and also in villages where PLHA live. In each village there is a self-help group that receives a small fund from our partner organisations and collects funds from their own members. The fund is used to help any members who have emergencies in health, face seasonal food shortages or for other livelihood alternatives. For example, 50 percent of vulnerable women in our partner’s slum communities could run small business while also being able to engage in decision making. Livelihood self-help groups: The self-help groups and women’s groups were provided


with food, livestock, seeds, and fertilisers to help their members sustain their livelihoods throughout the year. This initiative is largely targeted at the PLHA, fisher communities and farmers in Battambang and Kratie province. Natural disaster response: Some of our partners are taking initiatives beyond their normal working boundaries in response to hunger. Highlander’s Association whose primary focus is securing communal land ownership and promoting the indigenous culture have also been involved in identifying the work of food distribution to families suffering from hunger during the drought in some parts of Ratnakiri province. HA’s network with the indigenous people and their capacity to identify the most genuine vulnerable families in the community led the organizations (INGOs) to use HA’s structure and their knowledge in food distribution.

Women’s Rights
Accessing legal and health services: While working on the issues of women’s rights, particularly in the rural communities we realised that besides sensitisation and awareness raising people need immediate support in order to access legal and health services. In some of the cases, women, aware of their poor health conditions and of their legal rights, have failed to access services. This is simply because they cannot afford the travel and other minor costs. For these women, food and transportation costs incurred in the course of accessing legal (e.g. domestic violence) and health services are paid for by the fund. The fund sits with the self-help groups in each village. The most interesting issue that has emerged now is that women have started to discuss in developing some pressure groups to make both the local government authorities and other stakeholders to listen to them.

Right to Education
School materials for vulnerable children: Children without adult protection were provided with school uniforms and school materials. School materials such as books, notebooks, stationary, pencils, etc are also provided for the children of the poorest families in each village. These activities are combined with advocacy at family level in which parents are advocated to com commit their resources and efforts to send their children to school. Children’s circles: ActionAid Cambodia, in partnership with CWDCC, has created children’s circles in some villages where there is no school. Children of all ages, who could not access school due to lack of transportation and poverty, are able to get some educational services in their village. The circles provide basic education to these children to ensure that they will be able to catch up whenever they access the mainstream school at a later date.

Right to Life of Dignity for PLHA
Referral system: While working with some of the PLHA groups, we came to realise that many people living with HIV/AIDS in different areas have not been able to access the health services due to stigma, lack of transportation, lack of minimum costs bearing capacity, and lack of knowledge. In this context, it was strategic for us to provide support


to our partners to set up some referral system and linking them with community which was instrumental for many PLHA in accessing the services. The role of referral services was to provide primary counseling and then to link the PLHA with referral hospitals and other agencies providing services. Food for children without adult protection: Through our partner, HOC, ActionAid Cambodia supported the running of a center for OVC, primarily children in difficult circumstances whose parents affected by HIV/AIDS. Part of running the center involves providing food for those who are affected/infected by HIV/AIDS. Food was also provided for those children who are mainstreamed back to live in their communities, to help support those families that take them in.

II. Building organisation and alliance of the poor and marginalised people
Cambodia has crossed a long walk of conflict. The conflict at the manifest level has ended, and people have started to think differently, there are hopes in the eyes of people. Already broken down family systems are in the process to reintegrate in every sense. It is a fact that after a long war or conflict, systems are affected, relations are questioned and the only thing remains is sense of alienation. Actionaid International Cambodia has tried to see the significance of organisation within these frameworks and it has tried to internalise that how much it is important to build the organisations that are based on sense of unity, sense of solidarity, sense of belongingness. We have tried to bring communities together, get organised, and share feelings and work for the community itself. We strongly acknowledge and appreciate that community themselves are pioneering towards these initiatives and we have tried to play a role of facilitator. ActionAid Cambodia has also learnt from the communities. This mutual process has been able to establish some people’s groups working on different issues, linking our relations with different other civil society networks and also we have been mutually advocating a process to expand the role of such people’s organisations toward addressing their own development initiatives. We focused mostly on strengthening the organisation of the most poor and marginalised groups, women and youth in particular, by institutionalising important social processes such as participatory micro level planning mainly as a tool to engage the poorest communities in critically understanding, concretizing and planning for preferred actions. The preferred actions to be taken were then put forward to the local authority. Over the year, we directed our emphases on building legal knowledge of communities on land, water and forest issues, and social awareness on gender discrimination, legal protection to women against domestic violence. We believe that we have been able to create a space for people to get organise and strengthen their networks. This process will be further strengthened in the coming days.

Right to Food
Fishery and forestry community organisations: Fishery and forestry have been major sources of livelihood to many poor families. However, due to the rapidly increasing


process of privatisation, rich and powerful people’s control over the productive resources; poor families are facing a serious problem to sustain their livelihoods. These forces collude with local powerful elites. In order to help build the organisation and alliance of the poor fishermen and farmers, we organised and strengthened fishery and forestry community organisations by building up their capacity to function independently. Fisheries community and federation which are participated by the traditional fishing families whose fishing rights are denied have been organised. We then facilitated community fishery management committee meetings to help strengthen their roles and responsibility. This process further needs to strengthen their institutional capacities to deal with problems beyond their immediate communities. Monk networks: One of the most influential and prestigious asset of Cambodia is the monks. Those with proper perspective can be very important to our work both in mobilizing the community and dealing with the policy. In this context we have established a network among monks in the communities where they become the champions of the issues and problems of the people. Many monks in Cambodia, who have traditionally taught Buddhist principles, are now embracing greater social responsibility by educating communities about HIV/AIDS and building support networks for infected and affected people. This includes providing food, making home visits and clearing forest along the roads in villages. The monks raise funds for infected, affected and otherwise impoverished people. Their work also helps women and youth groups learn about community mobilisation. Landless people: our work with the indigenous people is largely centered around protecting the collective land ownership of indigenous people. We have been able to identify key areas and actors in some provinces, Banteay Meanchey and Battambang. People’s groups are starting to be formed and the need is to provide and both legal expertise and organising capacity of the landless leaders. We will be using services of existing legal organisations towards this end.

Women’s Rights
Women’s self-help groups: ActionAid Cambodia, in partnership with CWDCC and UPWD has mobilised and organised women’s groups to talk not only about livelihood issues, but also to talk about issues related to gender and domestic violence. Women community facilitators have been selected and their capacity has been strengthened. Women’s spaces: In eight old DAs, ActionAid Cambodia has helped to create space for community women to come together to discuss their issues and concerns starting from their reproductive health rights and moving to discuss domestic violence. They have been instilled in them women’s health within a socio-economic and political reality of Cambodia, power relationship in the society, and demanding for comprehensive health services, and finally empowerment to grow in confidence and practice healing therapies for different disorders. This activity will be expanded into all our development areas in 2007.

Right to Just and Democratic Governance


People Organisation: Urban Poor Women Development in Phnom Penh slum communities has facilitated forming 11 people orgnisations in all its squatter working areas. In the long run the organisations will centrally engage in advocating for pressing issues, such as land issue at national level in which ActionAid Cambodia and our partners will be playing the supporting and policy role at national level to support their endivour. For the time being each people’s organisation focuses on communal fund raising for death emergency needs, income generating activities, such as sewing and finding market for their products. Importantly, members of each organisation help complement UPWD’s forming women’s groups and strengthening community people’s knowledge of micro-level planning as well as women’s health. Micro-level planning (MLP): All four stages of MLP were completely conducted in two DAs (UPWD and CWDCC) while only the first stage was completed in other six DAs. MLP allows poor and excluded people to mobilise and discuss issues, plan actions in groups including meetings/dialogues with government institutions and other stakeholders, information collection, and hearing the obligations the state has as well as the available services to be accessed. The first stage was applied in two of our development areas to mobilise and organise poor and excluded people to participate in the analysis on the poverty. The MLP in the first stage is also used to strengthen the capacity of dialogue and advocacy with the state’s institutions related to the human rights. MLP is also a process to better understand the root causes of poverty which is centered around injustice. Village development committees (VDCs): ActionAid Cambodia, in partnership with CWDCC, have supported community facilitators who represent the excluded and poorest people in community, and who have been selected and strengthened in capacity to organize and mobilize their own communities. These Village development committees (VDCs), which represent every one in a village in protecting their rights, have been elected by the villagers. The VDCs’ capacities are also strengthened to facilitate the development activities within their own village. Indigenous consultative groups: At the commune level and district level in Ratanakiri province, ActionAid Cambodia and its partner, Highlanders Association, have mobilised and organised consultative groups which consist of representatives from different indigenous communities who use different indigenous languages. These groups exist throughout 16 communes and 9 districts. Their capacity has also been built up to better understand the Land Law, Forestry Law, the importance of land and other relevant issues including conservation of traditional cultures and techniques for agriculture. Their livelihoods need to be strengthened first so that they then can stand up to fighting for their land, which is the only source for their livelihood.

Right to Life of Dignity for Those Living with HIV/AIDS
PLHA Groups: AA Cambodia within a period of one year has been able to develop its strategic links with different PLHA groups. Due to the over flow of service dominated aid on HIV/AIDS in Cambodia, initially, it was difficult for us to identify key intervention areas. However, during our several rounds of discussions with PLHA groups, we have been able to identify some key areas of rights based interventions. Some strategic engagements with children without adult protection and women living with HIV/AIDS have been introduced; this process will be further extended and expanded in the coming 22

years. In this regard, ActionAid Cambodia provided vocational and leadership training to HOC PLHA self-help groups to strengthen their livelihood options. These groups were then mobilised and strengthened. Cambodian Alliance for Combating HIV/AIDS (CACHA): The alliance was established on April 10, 2006 has been an ambitious initiative aligned to the Asia Pacific People’s Alliance for Combating HIV/AIDS (APPACHA), consisting several local organizations working closely with PLHAs, sex workers, garment workers, trade unions and youth associations. The alliance also involve parliamentarians and the media to collectively advocate the state governments, politicians, policy makers, planners, administrators, implementers and UN for care, treatment and support for PLHAs and those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. The network allows space for same minded individuals, agencies, alliances and networks that are committed to change, to improve and to address the mal-practices, politics, and the lack of commitment, leadership and seriousness of the present alarming situation led due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Women’s Rights
Women Health Self-Help Initiatives: While working on the issues of women’s rights, particularly in the rural communities we realised that besides sensitisation and awareness raising people need immediate support in order to access legal and health services. Women’s health issues are critical in Cambodia and offers a niche to mobilize the agency of women beginning with an understanding of their own bodies, women diseases and local remedies; and gradually linking their health problems to effective public health provisioning at every level; and eventually with their emerging leadership to challenge patriarchy and claim their social, political and economic rights. Women’s health in women’s hand and “my body is mine” are the key premises to nurture the critical agency of the marginalized women to understand their own bodies, their rights and entitlements and assume key roles to assert their position and rights at home and society. III. Enforcing the Rights of Women and Girls In the specific context of Cambodia, women are among the most marginalised groups. Whether we talk about the incidents of domestic violence, or issues of trafficking, issues around rape or women and girls in garment, women and girls in sex industries or women in the face of HIV/AIDS; the context of women is vulnerable. ActionAid Cambodia, through its different initiatives, has tried to engage in these issues. Besides this, we have tried to engage ourselves to address the issues around patriarchy by engaging ourselves with indigenous women and women leaders in the urban slums. We strongly belief that this process is possible only through an instutionalised in-depth understanding of our own staff. Thus we have invested a lot for our entire staff and also specifically for our female colleagues to deepen their understanding and work as leaders. To further institutionalise the process of 2005, we mainstreamed gender and women’s rights across all our development areas and program activities. At all levels, ActionAid Cambodia, partners, and communities, women were supported in leadership roles. We viewed Women’s Rights as a cross-cutting theme that spanned all the other thematic work. We can now comfortably speak that our staff, partners and some pockets of 23

communities understand the our focus on women’s rights work. We however, need to continue to discuss and debate as to why this is our priority. In order to deepen our understanding of the issues around garment workers and sex workers we have been very closely associated with Womyn’s Agenda for Change (WAC). Our association is based on our ideology, principles and solidarity. We have a great deal to learn from such organizations.

Right to Food and to life in the face of HIV/AIDS
Capacity of People Living with HIV&AIDS on Livelihood: Our partner Positive Women of Hope Organization (PWHO) plays a vital role in helping women affected and effected by HIV&AIDS to have better understanding and being able to learn and share each other as role model regarding vocational skills to support livelihood, health information and health care services to reduce HIV&AIDS infection. PWHO also generates support from village chiefs and commune council members to facilitate a better environment for women to receive support and access services. Through the project, women can improve their quality of life, while ultimately reducing the prevalence and impact of the HIV&AIDS epidemic. PWHO strengthens the skill and capacity of positive women to enable them to attain secured and sustainable livelihood to support themselves and their children and reduce poverty, strengthens their leadership capacity for their social integration through community mobilization and to enable them to access health and other social provisions to live a life with dignity; while creating a replicable model for government and other development agencies working on HIV&AIDS issues. Indigenous women as torch bearers for the land movement: So far, ActionAid Cambodia and its partner HA, have been relying on traditional indigenous systems involving the elders to carry forward the land rights work in indigenous communities. However, a big learning from 2005 and throughout this year is that it is actually the women in indigenous communities who are the biggest forces opposing the selling of land and the greatest advocates for land rights. Vocational training for women: Across our partners, groups of vulnerable women have been instilled in them trainings on sewing and agricultural skills to increase their income generation and to ensure they have sustainable livelihoods. Women’s Rights Women leadership at partner and community levels: Our partner UPWD has built its women community facilitators on legal knowedge, leadership, micro level planning and women’s self-help health groups. 38 community facilitators can mobilise other villagers to take part in community development plan and dialogue with local authorities. Among them, 11 were elected heads of the people’s organisations who play the key role in organising their 14 slum communities while also contributing to capacity building of UPWD’s organisation network.

Right to Education
Ensuring universalisation of primary education: Girls from poor and excluded families in the communities who were also migrating with their families to go fishing


could attend literacy class. 319 women and girls from 8 communities in our Pursat working’s areas got educated and 186 of them were sent to public school.

Right to Just and Democratic Governance
Women in leadership roles: At ActionAid Cambodia, more women are recruited and hired than men, women are supported within the organisation to develop leadership skills, and our Senior Management Team is an equal balance of men and women. More than half of all community facilitators in our communities are women. Women activists and social leaders are supported and strengthened through various trainings. Our partners have prioritized women’s representation in all activities, including women representatives in all governance structures from community to organisational levels. Women community facilitators will engage in political arena in the upcoming commune elections. Right to Life of Dignity for Those Living with HIV/AIDS Reduced stigma and isolation of women living with HIV/AIDS: Focus women groups were supported in communities to have regular meetings to share information and knowledge among the members. Women’s groups across the different development areas were linked through their self-help groups, through reflect circles and lastly the Cambodian Alliance for Combating HIV/AIDS, which has been opening forum for demanding the government, donors, UN agencies and other stakeholders to respond to PLHAs’s universal access to ARVs, services and food as well as aid accountability, all of which were committed in the New York’s UNGASS declaration. This process has helped generating solidarity among the women.

IV. Strengthening pro-poor governance
Throughout the year 2006, we’ve strived build the base for our future strategic engagement by promoting the alliance of the poor to assert their rights on one hand, and on the other, by strengthening a just and accountable governance system at our partners to engage with communities with commitment, accountability and transparency. Regarding this, we also networked with partners and alliances at national and regional level. In terms of our thematic interventions, we have tried to mainstream governance within our thematic work as well. Our efforts in the year 2006 were largely focused by sharpening our institutional perspectives and practices, by institutionalising them and by insuring meaningful representations and participation of community people in all our development interventions. At the meantime our strategic engagement on national and local government budget tracking, aid accountability and media was an attempt to strategically and seriously enter into the large policy debate around governance.

Right to Food
Community Network for Food Security in Cambodia: ActionAid Cambodia, together with 17 partner organisations established the food security network led by community people. ActionAid Cambodia and its partners play only support role in doing the


advocacy. Dozens of community facilitators, 5 of whom will be selected to head the network committee and coordinate the network. The network aims to strengthen the capacity and community food security network to raise their awareness on food security and advocate for their right to food through negotiation, facilitation and advocacy at local and national levels. The network also aims to open space for the members and relevant stakeholders to discuss, share and reflect food security policy in Cambodia. Increased solidarity among landless and indigenous people: The year 2006 brought greater solidarity among the landless and indigenous peoples we work with. This was apparent through many strikes and demonstrations put on by people’s groups to protect communal lands from land grabbing in Ratanakiri province, Banteay Meanchey and Siem Reap. We believe that the people’s protest and participation for justice in the land have been able to create a new and political debate around the issues of land in Cambodia. Building People’s groups and alliances: ActionAid Cambodia supported, through the Indigenous Youth Development Project (IYDP) initiative, the building of an indigenous youth association. This has played a crucial role in awakening the indigenous youths at the community level to protect the land, adding value to the overall struggle of indigenous people for land and culture, and in countering the challenges created by modern monetized economy, its value and culture. Accordingly, we have supported selfhelp groups and Reflect circles to talk about their issues related to livelihood and others. Fishing communities were organized to empower them to develop their institution, and to contribute for the rights and justice of the community people.

Right to Just and Democratic Governance
Action-research refreshing training: the project operates in 9 villages of 6 six provinces on a pilot basis to demonstrate that REFLECT as a social mobilisation method can be used to make the Community Finance Institutions (CFIs) more accountable to the poor. The training aimed to explore and strengthen existing traditional verbal information management system in the CFIs to build confidence of the illiterate CFI members in the CFI management. Budget Work in Cambodia: From Outlays to Outcomes: in cooperation with Center for Budget and Governance Accountability, India, ActionAid Cambodia initiated an exploration to find the feasibility of groundwork for budget analysis work in Cambodia in order to understand the broader socio-economic, political context of Cambodia better, to sharpen our insight into the budget making processes and budget documents in Cambodia. It was also aimed to meet with relevant stakeholders so as to explore the possibility of doing such work and to make recommendations for the future contours of the work.

Right to life in the face of HIV/AIDS
Cambodian Alliance for Combating HIV/AIDS (CACHA) Press Conference: it was the launching day and a forum for people living with HIV/AIDS to demand their rights. Seven positive people speakers spoke out to about 150 people including a head of the National Assembly commission on Public Health, Social Work, Veteran, Youth Rehabilitation, Labour, Vocational Training and Women’s Affairs, media, and NGOs to


demand from the government, non-government and industry bodies, and the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS) a stronger response, greater accountability and a more effective approach that targets the basic needs of HIV-positive people such as access to affordable drugs, employment opportunities, education, healthcare, and housing services. Strengthening Participatory Review and Reflection process: ActionAid Cambodia conducted the participatory reviews and reflection processes in its partner level and at ActionAid level a process of being transparent and accountable to the people on the ground. Gradually, it is being understood and internalised by partners and communities. We still have a challenge to learn from and deepen the PRRP processes as a tool of empowerment.

V. Strengthening pro-poor policies
In 2006, we have worked in three main thematic areas – Right to Food, Women’s Rights and Right to Just and Democratic Governance. We have substantially engaged in the past years on these three themes and have gained good experience and established partnerships and national level alliances. On the Women’s Rights and HIV/ AIDS fronts, so far we have engaged at a micro level through our DA and non-DA partners. Based on our learnings from the previous years, we are developing priorities for strategic engagement with various groups in 2007.

Right to Food
Forums on fisheries, forestry, and land issues: We helped bringing critical perspectives on platforms that we engaged in most of the DAs at district and provincial levels to discuss on fishery, forestry, and land issues. The forums were to make the public aware of the current practices of the relevant responsible state’s institutions and to influence some parts of the current laws, decrees, sub-decrees and policies which are not relevant to the current situation of communities. Food Security network that was established with our partners in 2006 developed its TOR to further engage with communities around the food security issues. We have also evolved a small network amongst those groups within and outside our DA areas who have been resisting land grabbing by the rich and powerful. We still need to find ways to support such emerging groups to develop solidarity and network.

Right to Just and Democratic Governance
Policy Scoping Study: The study aimed to explore the space and strategic engagement in our policy advocacy work. We conducted a policy scoping study in the form of interviews with other NGOs to find out at what level our policy work could be effective and with whom we could work and what could be the policy work focus. It also explored the targets to render our policy advocacy work successful, whether or not international linking or local networking is more effective, the influencing players in advocacy for pro-poor policies and laws as well as effective advocacy strategies and risks. National Platform for IP: We are in the process of creating a national platform for


indigenous people (IP) through working with national level networks that are working on indigenous issues. This initiative is being supported by NGO Forum’s project called “Indigenous Minority Rights Project” which supports the networking of NGOs who are involved in indigenous community projects. ActionAid Cambodia is one such NGO. Urban Land Resettlement Network: The year 2006 continued to experience more of eviction of squatters in Phnom Penh. Some of the groups we have worked with have been able to get better deal in the course of eviction due to their organised strength and their negotiation skills. However, we have far way to go in terms of halting evictions of communities we work with. Our partners are in the network that works to promote housing and land rights to the urban poor. Being part of this process, we supported the Urban Land Resettlement Network and its implementation through NGO Forum.

In the whole year of 2006, we primarily centred our focus in building staff perspective and capacity, deepening engagement with partners and communities through social processes and people centred approaches, mobilising and supporting poor people’s organisations around their basic rights and exploring our alliances and scope of collective action and critical engagements. Moreover, 2006 is the year for us to define our position and tactics, while grounding basis social processes and protecting the basic rights of the poor and excluded groups. In 2006, of the five strategic areas which we have identified in our annual planning – women’s rights, right to food, right to education, just and democratic governance and life with dignity in the face of HIV/AIDS – we can see that the partners have made acceptable progress in a short time on the issues of HIV/AIDS awareness and women’s rights. Issues of governance and rights to education have been touched upon, processes initiated that needs to be followed up for noting change. The fifth issue of right to food is a very broad subject and covers all the rights to natural and economic resources on which the poor and marginalised depend for their livelihood. All partners are working on this issue but it will take many more years to see a significant improvement. Interestingly, some partners still see these issues in isolation and fail to see that unless they are approached from an integrated perspective, it will be difficult to make any in-roads into poverty reduction, even at their local level, not to mention having any significant impact on national indicators. For stakeholders working on advocacy at national level, the impact of our work to date is more difficult to assess, as many of the policy issues have been advocated by various different groups and networks over the last number of years. It is impossible to isolate the impact of our involvement over the last two years from the actions of others. Nevertheless, we can conclude that action is being taken on issues but it will take a longer time for impact to be seen on national level indicators. Rights-based approach is not new to Cambodia but not many organisations other than ActionAid Cambodia publicly recognise it as their main strategy towards poverty reduction. We have only just begun and although there have been some local successes by partners in encouraging poor and marginalised to attain their rights, it is too soon to gauge the overall impact of our strategy. One of the main challenges for us


is to link the micro to the macro level – using networks of partners and other agencies to build on the local successes as stepping-stones to influencing policies at national level. Of particular mention here as a potential support to ActionAid Cambodia in applying its strategies is the fact that most of what it aims to achieve as regards rights to end poverty are already recognised by the Royal Government of Cambodia in its Rectangular Strategy and more recently the National Strategic Development Plan which has been developed to operationalise the Rectangular Strategy and also incorporates the goals that were previously set out in the National Poverty Reduction Strategy as well as Cambodia’s Millennium Development Goals. This means that one way, we can be strong in demanding people’s rights, as there is no conflict, at least in theory with what the government says it wants to achieve. The challenge for all is making sure that what is said is put into practice. In the current Cambodian context this is a major challenge considering the issues of centralised and hegemonic state power structure, impunity and endemic corruption at all levels of government. VI. Stories of Changes: Khiev Lai, 35, lives in Cheko community of Phnom Penh slum urban areas. Lai has been involved in Women’s Self-Help Health Initiative programme ActionAid Cambodia works in partnership with Urban Poor Women almost 2 years-old son and sells planed ice to the young children in the community from which she can often earn at best around 10,000 riels to supplement her husband’s wage from working for a private electricity workshop for 260,000 riels Lai is making planed ice in front of a monthly. In very early 2000, Lai was seriously ill. neighbouring house. She rents the place for her She had white discharge. Lai’s weight was then only 40 kgs. She could not have a baby after all. “During that time, I would have fever. I felt dry in me and sometimes I could not even eat,” Lai recalled. “I could not have sex with my husband, which often made him very angry. So, he often left home for one month or two months. And I turned seriously sick,” she added. Fortunately, in 2002 she joined Cheko community’s savings scheme in which women’s health was monthly discussed and addressed collectively. Lai then could learn sanitation, making and use of traditional medicine, sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS as well as domestic violence. A variety of herbs are available and ready for use in her community, such as neem leaves (used for white discharge), Prateal Krong Samreth (a kind of plant used for cough medicine) and aloe vera (a type of plant used for stomach ache medicine). “Now I no longer need to spend 5,000 riels for consultation fees and medicine and transport cost for going to a private Lai cuts ice into pieces for the planed ice clinic, “said Lai, adding that they could only help ease


her hurt temporarily. From the training, she could treat herself. “I collected neem leaves, washed them and pounded and packed them and then tamponed them into the vagina within a week time or more, depending on my free time, “ Khiev Lai described the process of white discharge treatment. Our partner UPWD is now implementing women’s health programme in 15 slum communities, old and new. The initiative started in old communities since late 1990s. They have become mature and independently facilitate the programme in their own community at their own pace. According to UPWD director Mrs. Um Samon, the work has not only helped equip the people with health skills, but also opened space for them to raise and share their sufferings as well as concerns among the women. “Before my living was difficult. I could not work. I dared not communicate with others. We now dare ask each other for help. I do mentoring for the people,” said Phnom Penh Thmei women’s health community facilitator Um Sareth, 45, who once had white discharge and other women’s diseases while her husband would ask her to get divorced. “We did not know what the disease was. We did not know whom we should go to for help. And if we did go to health centre, it took us a lot of time to wait,” Sareth added.

1562 Santepheap Villagers Get Back More Than Half of the 1257 Grabbed Land

Santepheap villagers take rest after clearing

Santepheap villagers clear bush for measuring the grabbed land they just claimed

338 families of Santepheap villagers in Banteay Meanchey province at last get back more than half of their grabbed land. In light of the mid February’s dialogue of four Santepheap’s representatives with Malai District Chief Tep Khunnal, Preap Sarun deputy commander of Brigade 51 and border police, each family gets back 2 hectares of land as they demanded out of the 1257 grabbled farm land. However, according to Chhim Chhit, who was elected Santepheap village chief six months ago from among the activists, the agreed 1,600 meter-long land to be allocated among the families is only the first step. “We don’t want any 1,600, 2000, or 3000 meter long. If each family cannot get 2 hectares after measurements, we will demand more,” said Chhim Chhit. With pressure from the continued mobilisation, the district chief turned to play a support and intervention role in the long struggle. “If I am still a district chief, I’ll support you in


the land dispute and ensure land plot for each family,” Malai District Chief told villager representatives in the meeting. The people have been negotiating with authorities at all levels including demonstrations. They have been to village, commune, district, provincial offices and to the National Assembly and the premier cabinet. “People are united. We are ready anytime. Nobody leads us,” claimed Thi Ngiem who, together with other villagers, is clearing previously heavily mined bamboo forest for measuring their land two days after the agreement was made. “Land is very important for stomach of the poor. We can farm or grow crops. We depend on land for our livelihood,” Ngiem added. In light of the dialogue, people prepare their land measurement and demarcation so that they will then give the documents for the district chief’s approval and land titles from the district cadastral office. In the struggle, dozen of meetings, negotiations and protests have been waged. 250 villagers took 10 Kor Yuns (home-made vehicle) to protest in front of the district office. 280 villagers, each of whom contributed Riel 5,000 ($1.25), hired trucks to demonstrate at the governor provincial office. However, they could not get any success. Their endeavour has been obviously and remarkably seen, especially at national level when nearly 200 villager representatives joined hands in protest against the soldiers, land dealers, and key local officials in front of the National Assembly and at the Prime Minster Cabinet from 12 to 18 May 2006. Each villager contributed Riel 15,000 ($ 3.75) to hire trucks while each needed to cover their meal cost by themselves. To share his part, one of the villagers Ken Narin sold his dogs for Riel 50,000 ($ 12.5). Amid the demonstration which was widely covered by local and foreign media, the people firstly refused the district’s requesting them to go back until they were later ensured in writing. “There will be a meeting. In the meeting, all demands can be raised, and all people involved, local authorities, police will try to solve the problems based on the principle of justice, which ensures that every Santepheap family has land for housing and farming,” reads the letter of the promise.

6. Key achievements, learning and challenges emerging from present engagement
The shared learning process was undertaken to reflect critically upon our nature and extent of engagement, a scoring of 1 – 3 was used, in which 1 score represented only participation, 2 represented an enabling engagement that meant increased confidence, skills and new resources to our core constituencies and 3 score represented shift in position, power and rights of the core constituencies. A snapshot of the outcome of such analysis delineating clearly the degree of our engagement through a score of 1 – 3 is below.

Community level

Achievements Score The perspective, awareness, capacity and confidence of the 1 – 2 partner staff, community facilitators and the communities is observed to be gradually improving in analysis of their issues of land and fishery and better understanding on public 2 services.


Commune council, district, province level

National level

Community level

Commune council, district, province level

National level

Community level

A shift in perspective and approaches among the partners is observed from the present Cambodian service delivery mode to rights based approach. In few areas, increased cooperation is observed between the communities and commune and district chiefs, provincial authorities on issues of land, fishery, and better public health services. In some areas fishery, land, PLHA, and women violence survivor forums are clearly emerging and engaging in dialogue with the authorities. Women in two provinces have assumed greater position in local governance and preparing woman candidate for the upcoming commune council election in 2007. PLHA groups have engaged in caravan process, participated in UNGASS policy review and established Cambodian Alliance to Combat AIDS (CACHA) A food right network is clearly emerging and the indigenous people’s leadership is visible. The urban land resettlement network is clearly emerging and effective in negotiating with government for fair compensation. Key learning/ challenges Our DAs and Community Facilitators (CF) still need further training on effective facilitation skills, strategic planning and problem solving through CO mentoring and other forms of training. They tend to ask questions and provide the answers without seeking collective ideas from the community people. The DAs and the community facilitators usually like to talk more than the communities when they facilitate a meeting or a workshop. The community organising trainings have effective as it could help the DA and the CF know the power relations among the layers in each issue. Further, it helps them learn how to find relevant supporting documents to deal with case successfully. Local authorities are still not clear about our position, approach and work. RBA is very new in Cambodia and is perceived as a threat to the government. The micro level planning process experiences lack of real involvement of the communities, particularly the poor and excluded group and seem to be driven by task motivation and expectation of funding. The critical engagement with government is seemingly week as our alliances have not yet engaged effectively with the government Engagement with core constituencies Our core constituencies are the fisher communities, small and marginal farmers, landless & migratory communities, indigenous people, urban poor, women, and women headed households, women survivors of violence, PLHAs, children as such and particularly the children without adult protection.


1–2 2

1 1 2


2 2 2


Score 1–2


Commune council, district, province level National level

Through our programme we have been able to reach out to them effectively and directly Score Our alliances We have created processes to strengthen our alliance with 1 the forestry, land and fishery networks, human rights groups, NGO networks at provincial level

We have nurtured processes to strengthen our alliance with 1 likeminded INGO groups, CLEC and human right groups

One learning that came out very clearly is that we have not yet engaged strategically with the persons with disabilities (PWD) groups, even though Cambodia has a high prevalence of disability, mostly the locomotors in the age group of 15 – 35, due to the prolonged civil war, and this has a direct bearing on the household livelihood. This reflection has also brought out clearly that our programme approaches, planning and implementation thrust so far is primarily focussed on mobilising and organising the poor and excluded groups at the community level and the link of our core constituencies and alliances, when it moves up from community to above levels becomes less visible. Wherever, links at the provincial and national level is visible, they appear more like stand alone policy works without effective backward linkages to the communities. It is also evident from this internal reflection exercise that our depth of engagement is mostly at a level of participation focussing on capacity building efforts and positive power shift for claiming and enjoying rights has not yet got priority and visibility. Wherever, power shift is visible it’s impact and continuity is minuscule. This could be mainly because our country programme is at an inception stage and therefore our programme and approaches are strategically designed so far to strengthen/ deepen our engagement with our core constituencies at the community level primarily to build their perspective and mobilise and organise them around the issues of denial of rights. This is based on our conscious strategic decision that all our advocacy efforts need to be strongly grounded. The CP has not yet reached a stage to link programmes with policy advocacy work and visibility politics.

6.1 Organisational capacity assessment
Our team is very new and still forming up. The shared reflection has brought out that much of the time of the programme staff is consumed in strengthening partnership and managing partnership issues, mentoring the partners and community facilitators on rights based understanding and approach and engaging in the ground to strengthen programme. The three main areas where we have an active role to play in our effort to RTEP include, support the partners and communities in social analysis, collective planning and implementation; mentoring and couching the partners and the community facilitators in developing their perspective, capacity and skills; and support and involve in the policy advocacy work. The shared reflection revealed that we have certain level of capacity in each of these support functions and we still need to create further capacity to make our engagement even more effective. The outcomes are summarised in the matrix below.


Support functions Support partners and communities in social analysis, collective planning and implementation

Organisational strengths and existing capacity We have capacity to train partners and community facilitators on people centred planning (MLP). We have developed capacity in training and supporting the partners and women community facilitators in undertaking women’s self help health initiative as a process to build women’s leadership. We have developed the basic capacity to train and support the partners and community facilitators on community organising (CO) skills as a process to build community perspective and analysis. Mentoring and We have developed some capacity couching in mentoring/ couching our partners partners and and community on women’s rights community issues, RBA, CO and MLP as facilitators community mobilisation processes. Policy In 2006 we have undertaken a advocacy work series of policy research work to bring out areas and tools for effective policy discourse. Those include research on budget tracking, IFI education budget, real aid and access to justice for indigenous people. In addition, we have created spaces for strategic engagement with MRD on women’s rights issues, human rights groups for more democratic space for citizens and land issues.

Further capacity needed However, in 2007 we need to focus on furthering our capacity at ActionAid Cambodia, partners and community level on women’s rights, MLP, CO, RBA, ELBAG and social auditing processes.

Nevertheless, we need further capacity to communicate effectively to translate such skills to the partners and community facilitators. In 2007, we need to develop clear understanding on issues, strategies and approaches specific to the context of the country to take forward the policy advocacy work on a long term and sustained basis. Further we need capacity to build ground at micro, meso and national level to link our core constituencies, their issues and programmes with the policy advocacy work. As part of this effort we need to also build pilot models to suggest alternative development model to the State.

6.2 Partnership analysis
At present, we are engaged with 19 partners in 14 out of 24 provinces and municipalities on a long and medium term partnership. Partners are our most important affiliations to realise the goal of RTEP. It is therefore, very crucial for us to reflect jointly with the partners to see at what stage of preparedness they are now and what further needs to be done to work effectively on the goal of RTEP. As an initial process, as part of DA and non DA planning process, the concerned programme staff did a shared reflection with the partners on the issues of governance structure, transparency, depth and degree of partner’s engagement with communities, partner’s capacity on community


mobilisation, finance management capacity and policy advocacy capacity. In our internal shared reflection processes, which included all team members from across the functions, these outcomes were concretely analysed, outcomes synthesized and documented. A similar scoring system of 1 – 3 was used to reflect on the type of partnership, their depth of engagement with core constituencies and capacity to engage in policy advocacy work. Partners Score – 2, 5 partners; External intermediary organisations (NGOs) Strengths These five partners have a strong engagement with the communities, their staff perspective and capacity is high and they have a fairly well finance management system. The leadership is clear and effective and these partners are already working on a rights based approach These partners are at a stage to link their constituencies and their issues to policy advocacy work. These partners are self critical and reflect the ability and courage to challenge and simultaneously are willing to listen, embrace mistake and open to new learning. These partners are organisations Score – 1, made up of the poor and excluded 13 partners; Organisations communities, right holders and made up of their representatives. poor and As they have evolved from the communities, they share power excluded with the right holders. communities As they are community based, they reflect a high and direct proximity and access to the communities they work with. Their team is committed and have the aspiration to work on RBA. As they are community based, their organisational overheads are low. As the leader is an ex government Score – 0, personnel, the organisation has I partner; good relation with the local External authority. intermediary The organisation has very highly organisation committed team. (NGO) Challenges It still appears that their governance structure is centralised and that there are confusion between governance and executive. They still need support, mentoring and capacity and skills to work in an approach to bring the community to the centre of leadership and planning. As they are external intermediary agencies, they still play a very central role in policy advocacy.

However, the crucial challenges are that their governance is relatively more centralised, their gender sensitivity is relatively lower. Their present capacity in community mobilisation, finance management is low and they need to go through a process of constant mentoring to develop perspective and work on policy advocacy issues. They somehow lack confidence to take forward the RBA.

Although their office is located in the community, still the leadership is external and forced and the engagement with right holders seems to be low and is an area of concern. The governance structure is highly centralised, but the leadership shows willingness to change. 35

Gender sensitivity is low not only at the organisation level but also among the communities. Their present capacity and engagement is very low and it will need a lot of mentoring to build their perspectives. This table of analysis reveals that in 2007, we need to have a differential approach specifically aligned to each type of partner to enable an upward movement from low to high score. This analysis gives us an important learning to depart from a one-size-fit-all approach to an approach which is sensitive and considers partner’s present level of perspective, skill and capacity and build further from there. However, in general, we can see a change in the operational strategies of the partners, following their engagement with Action Aid – with program implementation stressing rights issues rather than just addressing specific issues arising from poverty. 6.3 Positive factors in partnerships that can contribute to ActionAid Cambodia’s country strategy a) In general the partners show high commitment to addressing the problems facing their communities, especially to the poor and marginalised within these communities. It is obvious that we have given serious consideration to the selection of appropriate partners that can contribute to our overall goals. b) The partners have begun to understand the need to move on from addressing the consequences of poverty through service provision to assessing the root causes of poverty and the restrictions of certain groups to basic rights that would alleviate the problems they face. c) When partners compare their relationship with ActionAid Cambodia to their engagements with other support agencies they perceive Action Aid as an organisation that is committed to a long-term relationship that respects the aims of its partners and to building their capacity to achieve these aims. d) Selected partners are spread over a diverse geographical area and are addressing diverse issues. This can contribute greatly to our work, through our partners, building up a deeper understanding of the causes of poverty and marginalisation throughout different communities in Cambodia. Consequently this understanding should contribute to more meaningful advocacy efforts at national level, which can have a wider impact on other communities facing similar issues. e) Most of the partners appear to be willing to stand up to local authorities in favour of their communities to address issues of rights. Actual examples of this willingness in action are documented and available on request. f) Most partners show a strong commitment to gender equity. This is evident in the staff composition as well as in their community organising work.


g) Related to governance, all partners have established boards – but most are still of an advisory nature. h) Most of the partners understand the need for networking to enhance the effectiveness of the work of individual organisations and actively participate in relevant local networks.

Women’s Self Help Health Initiative programme
Looking into the Women’s Self Help Health Initiative, we have noticed some significant changes among our partner organisation and the communities. For example, UPWD is the leading partner organization who has used the women health approach to mobilise and organise women in the slum communities. The community leaders in Checko community have practiced using herbal medicine to treat the women health. Some of the contraceptives have negative side affects which worsen women’s health. The women in the community met together regularly to discuss and share learning about their health. They dare to talk openly to their partners to have safe sex and they treat their diseases on their own using herb which is now available around their houses and in the community—they grow herb plants. Further, they talked openly about their sexuality desire, reproductive health and other issues including domestic violence. Most participants agreed that the trainings have provided them with opportunity to learn about their bodies constructed by culture and society that traditionally prevent women openly discuss their bodies and related diseases. They learned the real meaning of gender and patriarchy, all of which allow them to enhance analytical skill based on the status of patriarchy.


Risks/Challenges and Mitigation

Women Self Help Health Initiative programme:
Capacity and knowledge of participants: Most of community facilitators have low level of education; therefore, it’s quite difficult for them to catch up new world regarding gender, patriarchy, social analysis etc. Therefore, it takes quite a lot of time to explain them. In addition, regarding the health issues, some of participants didn’t understand well about the name of diseases, how to use materials such as stetoscope, speculum, BP…etc. Two participants were eliminated from the course while one participant resigned from her work as women health facilitator because she felt that she could not handle the work and she was not confident enough. Government and other donors (Contraceptive Vs herb using): The objective of training is focusing on self-help which encourages women to use herb and other local treatment rather than modern medicine. However, we can see that this process was somehow sensitive to the government. For example, we encouraged women to use maintain fertility chart in order for women to control themselves for reproduction while government and other organisations tried to advertise modern contraceptive methods such as pill, injection, IUD…etc. Based on our training, we found that using all modern contraceptives do serious harm to women’s health. However, we don’t have any concrete evidence, research or analysis to demonstrate their side effects. Therefore, it is quite a challenge to have debate against the government.


The Program and Policy Department noticed there has been some risk and mitigation as depicted in the table below. Risks Mitigations • Women colleagues are not • Some of the working areas, recommended to go to the place particularly in the northwest, are not alone. Find a better and safer quite safe for women colleagues. accommodation and gather all necessary emergency contact numbers from the local authorities, human rights workers and team. Copies of Security Policy provided to • Our engagements with the community all ActionAid Cambodia staff members. are still not deep enough. • Program and Policy department has been restructured. A program geographical area has been divided into east and west regions. Each program officer has been assigned to • Land and fishery still remain hot handle only two partners or DAs. issues in the country. ActionAid Cambodia and staff might get into • We need to be careful with any social processes we have with partners and trouble if we push too hard and stand community people. Set clear position in the front place. in our strategy and always work cooperatively and collectively with other stakeholders. • Partner’s level of transparency in the community is still very limited in terms • Closely monitor and nurture partners through various consultation, of programme activities and budget. workshop and community organizing process.

Core team to follow-up the activities in the community: It’s important to have core team of women health from ActionAid Cambodia and our partners in order to follow-up activities of our community facilitators in the filed as well as continuous strengthening their capacity. In addition, the team needs to mobilise women on campaigning around women’s health. However, until now we have not yet had specific core team besides a few members of ActionAid Cambodia’s women’s rights team who handle some of the work. Resource Mobilisation—Sponsorship Department Mitigation Risk/Threats: 1. SP works require us to engage with 1. Our partner organization has tried to involve local authority of all levels in many stakeholders including local our work. We start to strengthen this authority. However, in some places practice when we provide SP local authority does not provide much induction during DA appraisal. Local support authority tends to give their support 2. Community is aware that we have once they are closely engaged with children as a center in our fundraising. and when they understand our However, children do not always program. receive the benefit directly or in a short






period of time. Children and their parents have begun to ask questions about the benefit now. The presence of other child sponsorship organization in the nearby area does have strong impact on our ways of work. Our working approach is to engage community in all our work; however when people are not satisfied with the benefit they are expecting of, they might refuse not to cooperate with us. The support link is really fragile as it is all about individual support. It can be broken for no reason and it does not give us any warning in advance to prepare for the withdrawal of the support. Number of child focus program is very small. Cooperation from children in child message collection might go down as children do not see any direct and immediate benefit to them.

2. From time to time, our Sponsorship focal person in each DA provides induction to community and to make them see the link between child sponsorship and program activities. Our focal person has always tried to find innovative way in engaging with children to make them feel that they are not used as an object to raise money, but they have and they can play a crucial role in contributing to the development of their community. 3&4. Our partner organization have even engaged more closely with community, built relationship and trust with them and explain to them regularly about our approach to development. 5. We put supporters at the center of our work. We strive to provide the best service we can. We make sure that we send child message and report to them on time. We ensure that we respond to their query as quickly as possible, and we ensure that they are well-informed about the well-being of their sponsored child in child message translation. 6. We are working with program team to develop constructive child focus program in order for children to feel that they are part of the activities and that they are benefiting from the money they help to raise. Meanwhile, SP team is to have more interaction with program team, especially during budgeting and planning so that the proposed idea of child focus program is reinforced and put to practice.


Departmental update and Inter Department Linkages

INCOME The income trend in 2006 is shown in the following chart: Total income received in year-2006 is £918K against plan £1,000K, 8% less than plan and 4% less than Forecast, the mainly reason due to partnership income- unconfirmed income for £160K has not been received from Jersey, FAO and DFID for the year. Major Donor income we received only 80% of total with its forecasted 100%. However, the trend is shown slightly different between Actual and Plan because we received 39

unplanned partnership income locally from UNDP, VFI and CCFIN for £5K and other partnership income raised by UK. In 2006 -2008 unconfirmed income has not been received but in 2007 -2008 we might receive unconfirmed income from DEPICO project for € 569K but we are now ensured of € 300K. This fund will be received from EC with 15% of fund contributed by AAC to implement the disaster preparedness project. This will be implemented within the broader framework of the food security work with DAs. We are able to raise unplanned income at local level from UNDP and VFI, those funds we implemented on research; Access to Justice for Indigenous People in Northeast of Cambodia and Pilot initiative to start some education program for children leaving in the floating areas, in Tonle Sap Lake. DONOR REPORTING For the year 2006, AAC raised fund from local donor at 5% of total income, most of the fund came from CCA-CCFIN, UNDP and VFI to support our activities on Macro Finance, action research. Two donors, UNDP and VFI they have not specifically mentioned about financial report in the MOU. We submitted financial report by semester to CCA-CCFIN. The first semester the submission did not met the deadline as we work directly through Local NGO (Partner). Partner requested to delay the work due to human resource constraint from the project implementing partners. PARTNER REPORTING We received financial report from partner on a quarterly basis; we reviewed their report with work plan and budget activities, excel format has been used for all DAs in one format. According to their report we can catch up with thematic data, direct to program sponsorship and support cost. However, we need to improve further for Non DAs format as they produce according to their standard, it would not respond to our needs. Lesson learnt from last year in monitoring fund utilization and reserve at partner level we decided to consider grants to partner as an advance account, we recognized expenditure while we received actual spent from partner. The program activities, project and DA/DI has grown up very fast from year to year, in order to assist our finance work smoothly, we planned to recruit one more finance staff in 2007. At the same time we also focus on monitoring budget and actual spend with the program report to get a right figure of spending fund and complied to our strategic/goal Right Base Approach and our global strategy. Finance workshop has been conducted in October for 3 days, to share and learn from each other between partner staff and AAC staff for finance technical/issues, and we focus on finance accountability and transparency at partner and community level. Finance staff have involved in PRRP for some partners and focused on fund utilisation (unspent fund, over spending etc) and any reflection on overall finance issue. It is a new experience for the finance team. Finance team also have been involved with the programme and the resource mobilization team in course of proposal writing.


Resources Mobilsation—Sponsorship Review and Reflection 2006 Year 2006 marked a broader expansion in Resource Mobilisation Unit of ActionAid Cambodia. It was also a year of excitement as we recruited two more new staff in order to meet the rapid work in the unit. We moved from having 4 staff to 5 staff: RM Coordinator, two Sponsorship Officer and two SP Associates. All of us come from a diverse background (communication, journalism, fresh graduate…) which fits in very well with the job requirement in the unit. The Participatory Reviews and Reflection Processes A review and reflection of 2006 was conducted within the department itself, with partner organizations and community people. Our role during that process was mainly to listen to the voice of the community. Our partner organizations mainly took the lead in the process. We are proud to share what we have done in 2006 as a unit itself and as a unit in relation to other departments in the whole organization. We also would like to share our challenges, SWOT and lessons learned. 2006 was a year filled with intense operation. We expanded our long term partnership in to five other provinces which make our long term engagement with the community expanded into 13 areas throughout the country. They are: Phnom Penh, Kratie, Banteay Meanchey, Siem Reap, Pursat, Kampot, Kampong Cham, Svay Rieng, Prey Veng, Kampong Thom, Steung Treng, Preah Vihea and Sre Ambel. By 2006, a total number of 9200 CHs were sent, and of which around 4,000CHs got linked. With this big expansion of all since the establishment of child sponsorship program of ActionAid Cambodia, we faced both challenges and excitement in accomplishing our works. However, we were happy with our satisfactory. A strong sense of team work and staff commitment were the key factors that led to the smooth operation of our work. The three-year RM plan was developed with the involvement from all RM team members, program and finance staff. Gap of staff capacity was identified and we were fortunate to have three members from RM unit to attend STARR in Pakistan where we particularly received training on report writing to supporters and writing a RBA report. Our team also participated in other international workshop such as Partnership Development in Bangkok and SAM in Bangkok. We have always strived to learn from the experience of other CPs as we believe that shared learning is the key to improvement. Year 2006 was also a year where we strongly felt that we work more closely with Program team. We engaged in the budgeting and planning of some DAs in order to ensure that appropriate child focus program is in place to benefit the children whom we work with. More remarkably, together with Program and finance team, we submitted a few proposals to various major donors. Even though not all proposals were granted funding, we were proud with the effort that staff from the three units put together to complete those proposals. Having said this, it is not to ignore the fact that we have worked very closely with the regional team who has provided tremendous support in the development of any of our proposal.


We also conducted a Sponsorship workshop where all sponsorship focal person from all our DAs participated to reflect on their job and learned from each other in regard to the implementation of child sponsorship at the DA level. Sponsorship focal persons find this workshop very helpful and we do find the need to keep having this workshop twice a year. 2006 was also a year in which our program is more recognized, especially from the supporter side. We accommodated some supporter’s visits. Each time was a successful and inspiring one for us. We hear from supporters about the good work we are doing, we hear from them their perspective on development and more importantly their support and side by us in terms of our rights based approach to development. We were also proud to work very closely with fundraising team in UK and Italy in raising fund from various sources including from major donor and community challenge. The kind of close and open relationship that we have with international fundraising team has enabled us to raise more funds for our projects. Reflection SWOT Analysis of Sponsorship unit Strength • We are confident in doing SP work • We share common value of mutual respect, humility, understanding, sharing and learning • We make every effort to maintain the favourable working environment and strong team work as we have had • High commitment to the work among team members • We have always been a cooperative and helpful team • We are valued by other department within the organization, thus enabling us to work cooperatively with them Weakness • Due to time constraint, we are not able to engage fully with the program team to our satisfactory level yet. • Facilitation skill of Sponsorship team is to be improved to communicate with community more effectively • SP team to have better knowledge of impact assessment so that they are able to link child SP and program work more effectively • SP teams has limited capacity in report writing, and in a few other areas • Poor capacity of sponsorship focal person at the DA level is still a challenge. Their limited knowledge has led to the delayed in submitting their work and in giving the right message to community. • Lack of inspiration within sponsorship focal person at DA level in doing their job. Opportunity • By engaging more with program team, our team learn more about the work and able to link between child sponsorship and program work


• •

Attending local and international workshop where we learned to do SP work at our CP more effectively As we expand into new DAs, we learn more about poverty condition in Cambodia. We are able to visit those areas with program team and make us understand more about the context which is really helpful for us in doing DA appraisal and report writing.

Learning from 2006 We are pleased to share our lesson learned in 2006. We will use this learning as a guide to help us do our job more effectively in year 2007. • We need to involve more with program team, especially during the budgeting and planning in order to ensure that appropriate child focus activities are in place and also to understand program work better. Sponsorship Unit does the fundraising and therefore we are hold accountable to the money we raise, to the children whom we get the money from, to the community and especially to how the money is spent. For this reason, it cannot be denied that sponsorship can work alone. Our unit has to link to all departments in the organization. The practice of regular meeting with other department and the sharing of after-field visit reports should be reinforced in order to keep each unit member well informed of what is happening in our operation. Our engagement with partner organizations is still low and we need to strengthen that. By engaging with them, we will be able to identify the issues and challenges that partner organization face so that we can provide appropriate support on time in the implementation of child sponsorship at the DA level. We learned that to write a better child sponsorship report, we need to write it from the field’s view. However, we still have not done this to a maximum level yet. Writing report about community from outside the community is not constructive. We need to be more at the field level. Time constraint has always been an issue for us. However, we need to plan our work more strategically among our team member so that we are able to attend to various issues outside department work (e.g: making field visit for program or finance review, respond to other calls for proposal…). Last year we sent wrong child message to supporter. That is a big lesson learned from us. This lesson has put us in a more precautious way in our mail dispatching preparation. Sending child message sounds like a simple task, but only after we made this mistake did we realize how importance the detail of the simple task is. Limited time and capacity of IPD work of Head of Fundraising has limited us in responding to many calls for proposal. Head of Fundraising should strategically allocate her time in handling both Sponsorship and Partnership work. To do this, Sponsorship team should have full capacity in doing their job, especially on report writing. Formal induction on IPD should be provided to head of Fundraising so that she is able to improve her work not only in fundraising but engaging with donors as well.






9. Human Resource and Organisational Development


We have successfully recruited a full time Human Resource Organisation Development (HROD) Coordinator in place to take charge of HROD issues in the organisation. This has immensely taken load off the Country Director who was doing this function earlier. One learning identified is that our current HROD policy is still not quite details in some parts. The HROD Coordinator is working to revise those parts to make it more details and comprehensive. Strengths Weaknesses • There are still some gaps in sharing • Staff have strong commitment in their information work toward achieving the organisation vision, mission and goal • The HROD policy needs to be modified some part to make it more • Good working environment practical in ActionAid Cambodia • Good very open communication country office among staff and their line managers and supervisors • HROD policies is in place and translated into the local language • Sexual harassment and security policies have been developed (still in English) Orientation and induction to staff joining in 2007 will be one of the major tasks of the OD function. Reviewing JDs and developing KRAs based on 2005 appraisal will be one of the major tasks. We envision a regular support to staff in understanding the existing HROD policies of ActionAid Cambodia and other related policies. Focus will be on helping staff to put policies in practice. We have carried out organisational climate assessment. We will aim to implement the recommendations coming out of that survey. Some of the areas we will be focusing to pursue the recommendations are as follows: • • • There is a need to have common understanding of what the values statement mean and that all the staff are able to reflect on their experiences and practice of values. There is a perception that the staff have work overload that needed to be validated to define the real cause There's a need to ensure that everyone has clear understanding of the OD and HR Policy and when developing policies and getting feedback from staff, make sure that the bases of making decisions are clear to everyone. There is a need to develop a staff development framework that ensures capacity development needs of the staff are addressed in an integrated way. The current government or state is not open to the kind of work ActionAid Cambodia is doing or makes it more difficult or challenging. There are threats of security due to vested interests of certain entities causing demotivation to the staff.

• • •


• • •

We will invest in strengthening communication skills of our staff and that of partners through series of training and mentoring initiatives. We will in 2007 upgrade internet connection with unlimited data usage. We will also upgrade UPS which will be able to configure auto shut down. We will open other 4 DAs in 2007 and 3 more in 2008. It is the major income (54.82%) of ActionAid Cambodia.

10. Prouds and Sorries
PROUDS ActionAid Level: SORRIES ActionAid Level:

Being a new country program there is a Continues reaching out to, and bringing work pressure on all staff, up, the most excluded people, the consequently at times it becomes disabled people and their organizations difficult to manage multiple – large coverage with a small staff responsibilities. Four additional full-time staff recruited The level of our engagement with our (HROD Coordinator, and three partners and communities is not at a Program Officers) level we are satisfied with. We feel proud of Actionaid’s profile Still some partners who do not really soaring after the real aid report launch. understand ActionAid Cambodia – see Genuine and big investment in staff us as a donor or funder – not as a capacity partner. ActionAid continues to have a The sponsorship policy is not fully reputation of being constructively understood by the communities, critical and of having alternative especially children parents. approaches and expertise that can be Need to spend more time at the DA to tapped in Cambodia reflect the program activities and Good coordination by Senior review budget Management Team Interdepartmental collaboration for preappraisals and appraisals Partner Level: There are still big gap in terms of Playing quite a strong role already in collaboration between DAs and national, regional, and global relevant provincial authorities in some campaigns and efforts – and DIVERSE provinces. thematic foci, despite being a new Careless in checking and verifying programme expense vouchers. Committed, passionate and diverse Still weak in sharing program plan to staff – good team work the women community facilitators, low Support and promote women programme management skills. leadership Still poor in documents keeping and We engaged with PLHA organisations filing management. Still weak in financial management Partner Level: Quite limited skills in writing reports. The communities whom we engaged Do not understand English with started to understand the


important of deepen problem anlaysing skills in the communities. Some of the Community Facilitators are committed to change their facilitation styles from always provide the answers to asking more questions to get concrete common ideas from the community. Our DAs in Svay Rieng increased promotion of participatory decision making within the organisation and in the communities. Team spirit Our partner in Siem Reap (HRND) assisted 94 families in Prasat Bakong District reclaimed their 238 hectare of land. They used the skills gained from CO workshop to access and collect relevant and concrete information about the land law and built network and themselves to the NGO. Less fortunate children had opportunities to attend school and participate in child focused programme activities (drawing and writing child message). Our DAs work increased more coverage to reach PLHAs in the micro and macro levels.

Face difficulties in working with small children. Lack of capacity in mobilizing people to deal with issues in the communities, such as land grabbing, fishery and domestic violence as they do not supporting documents (land law, fishery law, etc) to back up their claiming. The parents still do not fully understand about child sponsorship policy. They are expecting to have stepfathers and have them supported the children in terms of education and health. Some crucial organisational policies are not in place (personnel and financial policies…) The DAs in Pursat and in Kompong Cham still use autocratic leadership management style. The decision and programme planning was made by management team without involvement of field staff.

11. Lessons for the future Approach
In order to achieve significant impact over the next few years, we need now to consolidate our operations in the country and support partners in developing a network of organisations and associations that are committed to combating poverty and injustice through a rights-based approach. Without these linkages, local successes will have little opportunity to extend beyond their own local area. In addition, we need to build stronger relations with different levels of government, seeking out those officials who are committed to the development of their country through justice and equality, and support them in their efforts to do this. 2007 will be the first year of such a long term engagement to advance the rights of the poor and excluded. Some of our core approaches from 2007 will therefore be: Building on Positive Changes: One of the core thrust of our future work will be based on the recognition of the positive changes in the political and social scenario and to build on these positive changes. We will strive to build; on the emerging organizations of the poor and excluded communities to strengthen their voice; on the call of political executives, donor communities and civil society for an alternative development thinking and creating a democratic space for expressing opinion for seeking justice, inclusion and


equity; on the mass media’s effort in bringing various issues of public importance to public discussions and; on the efforts of the social institutions such as pagoda in strengthening the voice of the poor and the excluded. Strengthening the organisations of poor and marginalised: We will explore ways and means for strategic alliance with emerging unions, federations, national NGOs, and emerging community groups working for reinforcing the rights of the poor and excluded. We will particularly engage with women's groups working on issues of violence against women and trafficking to strengthen their position, participation and representation in domestic and public domain. Partnering with CBOs: We will strive to establish and nurture value based partnership with the emerging grass roots organizations and build on their rising shifts in understanding and perspective towards rights-based approach. Critically engaging with the government for realizing the rights of the poor: We will be proactive to engage critically with the government to translate its progressive policies to advance the rights of the most poor. Some of the clear areas of critical engagement include banned logging, land concessions reassessment, social land and fishery lot concession drive for the poor and its drive on resolving Land Disputes. While doing so, we will also strive to engage in policy research to bring out loopholes in public policies and advocacy tools to support our alliances to dialogue with state for positive change in legislation to make it pro poor. Engaging with the parliamentarians on development consensus: We will strive to engage strategically with the parliamentarians to cash-on their growing concern to respond to the needs of the poor and marginalized. Protect the livelihood rights of the poorest and vulnerable communities and individuals: This will be a major area of our engagement and we will be committed to protect the rights of the poorest communities, individuals and women to protect, claim and enjoy their rights over dignified livelihood means and resources. We will be proactive to mobilize and organize the poor communities, individuals and women’s to build alliances and lobby with the government for getting sustained access and control over the means of livelihoods.


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